, Volume 20, Issue 3 Supplement, pp 485-491,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Dec 2012

KRAS and BRAF Mutations in 203 Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas: Pyrosequencing Technology and Literature Review



Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is one of the most promising targets for molecular-targeted therapies in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Thus, the molecular diagnosis of KRAS and BRAF mutations is clinically important in therapeutic decision making. However, the frequency of KRAS and BRAF mutations in ESCCs remains inconclusive because of the limited sample sizes of previous studies (all N ≤ 80). Pyrosequencing is a nonelectrophoretic nucleotide extension sequencing technology that can be used for mutation testing.


The frequency of KRAS and BRAF mutations was examined using a nonbiased database of 203 resected ESCCs and a high-throughput pyrosequencing assay.


The validity of the KRAS pyrosequencing method was initially demonstrated by detection of all 4 types of KRAS mutations [c.35G>T (codon 12 GGT>GTT), c.35G>A (codon 12 GGT>GAT), c.34G>T (codon 12 GGT>TGT), c.38G>A mutation (codon 13 GGC>GAC)], which had been previously diagnosed using Scorpion-ARMS technology, in 9 colon cancer tissues (9 of 9; 100 %). Similar results were demonstrated for BRAF mutational status in 3 colon cancer cell lines (HCT116, Colo201, and HT29), which were validated by Sanger dideoxy sequencing. Subsequently, the KRAS mutation was found to be extremely rare (1 of 203; 0.5 %), and the BRAF mutation was absent (0 of 203; 0 %), in the dataset of 203 ESCCs.


These results suggest that KRAS and BRAF mutations play a limited role in the development of ESCC and that mutation analysis is not useful as a screening test for sensitivity to anti-EGFR therapy in ESCC.